“We want to play throughout level 2 and up,” Baraja’s vice president of engineering, automotive, Jim Kane, said last month of his lidar company, and he gave an idea of what it is. ‘such a technological deployment could imply for bodybuilders.
Lidar is like radar or sonar: it “sees” other objects by bouncing a wave off them in a sensor. In this case, the technology is bombarding the world with lasers instead of radio or sound waves. It’s used in the development of autonomous vehicles, but it also has obvious applications as another sensory blanket – or perhaps as a sensor replacement – for “less advanced” technology like advanced driver assistance systems.
Autonomy SAE Level 2 Baraja mentioned is the type of ADAS popularized by Tesla’s autopilot and now spreading in mainstream vehicles. The motorist should keep their eyes on the road and be prepared to take over, even if the car is driving. Soon, consumer vehicles will likely be SAE level 3, in which the motorist must be prepared to regain control but may otherwise cease to monitor the driving of the vehicle under certain conditions. (For example, checking your phone in the driver’s seat while the car is traveling on a freeway.) Level 4 is Google Car level, where occupants can all fall asleep and trust the car to drive itself according to certain parameters, such as a specific geographic area.)
The same day we spoke to Kane, Baraja announced that he had reached an agreement with Tier 1 vendor Veoneer to “industrialize LiDAR Spectrum-Scan ™ technology for the next wave of the L2 + autonomous vehicle application market at L4 “. The lidar maker said on July 19 that it has “a roadmap that lends itself to being among smaller LiDARs to enable vehicle integration.”
“Our target is definitely the mass market,” Kane said. He said the company is considering a 2024-25 timeframe for such a deployment.
Kane said Baraja’s lidar differs from traditional rotating or rotating lidar in that it functions like a prism. The device sends light waves everywhere from a vertical axis and can receive 2000 environmental data points in return. Baraja achieves “extremely high resolution” and can achieve a “blur-free image” because its technology does not drag the laser light beam through the sensor’s field of view. The technology shoots at 30 frames per second, and it can even allow an AI to zoom in and focus on a certain element that it finds interesting, he said.
We asked where the bodybuilders would find the sensor. Kane said it was “the higher the better” for lidar.
“This is where we want to be,” Kane said. Some builders are adding lidar under the bumper after the fact, which is “not the best place,” he said.
According to Kane, near the roof with a heater and cleaning rack is a possibility. Behind the windshield is another option, he said.
“It’s another interesting application,” he said.
However, the heat generated by the technology might require an overhead fan to make lidar behind a windshield workable, according to Kane. As with other lidar systems, an infrared transparent area on the glass would also be needed for the Baraja lidar to see through the glass, he said.
Kane said in August that the company had spoken to OEMs about these three locations and the grille as possible locations for its technology.
One potential concern with lidar is the sight of dark objects, such as all black cars on the road. The brighter the car, the better the feedback, according to Kane.
Kane said Baraja would suffer loss of visibility with a dark vehicle, but “nothing too serious”. Putting metal flakes in the paint “helps a lot,” he said, but even with matte black, “you get some light.”
The trick will be to collect as many photons as possible, according to Kane.
“This is really what we are focusing on now,” he said.
Lidar is much more expensive than cameras or radars, and Baraja is trying to keep the costs down. One option could be to replace the camera-radar combinations used by automakers for automatic braking with a single lidar sensor. It’s “still not entirely cost effective,” Kane said, but there is more talk about using lidar as ADAS functionality spreads throughout the fleet.
However, Kane doubted that Baraja lidar would soon become ubiquitous on vehicles, and the company would continue to focus on its current lidar mining and industrial activities. “We will continue to sell in this,” he said.
Kane said Baraja’s lidar calibration could be similar to other ADASs, describing a setup with two targets separated by a distance known to be feasible. “That would be the idea,” he said.
However, it might be possible to calibrate a vehicle on the road. Lidar mounted behind a windshield can close the hood, Kane said. But the grid-mounted lidar lacks “to use” objects.
Kane said so and Veoneer is already looking at calibration at the dealer and automotive level. “We’ve already started talking about these things,” he said.
Baraja’s solid-state lidar – no moving parts – could also simplify collision repair. While you don’t have to drop the lidar and then install it in a vehicle, the technology is otherwise quite robust and easy for a repairman to control, according to Kane. It may not be a “replace after every collision” element of ADAS.
The laser should aim at the right spot as long as the box is not warped, and the software will be able to detect if something is wrong with the technology, according to Kane.
“We will report it,” he said. “… We will let you know if we are broken or not. “
Baraja, July 19, 2021
A point cloud generated by Baraja’s lidar technology. (Provided by Baraja)
The Society of Automotive Engineers published in May 2021 this updated table of its J-3016 standard defining autonomy levels 0-5. (Provided by the Society of Automotive Engineers)
A Baraja lidar device is shown. (Provided by Baraja via Business Wire)